Today’s reading is Psalm 31.
“I trusted the Lord and look where it got me,” says the person who went to church for a while, started obeying the Lord, but then faced a hardship and decided to jump ship. Let me ask you this. Which of the following most demonstrates trust in the Lord? Doing what the Lord says when everything is going your way and turning out exactly as you expected or doing what the Lord says when everything is still going against you and it is not turning out how you expected? David is in some hardship. Enemies have laid a trap for him. He is afflicted and distressed. He has become a reproach to his neighbors, his acquaintances, and even perfect strangers because of his enemies. He is facing terror on every side and the schemes of those who plot to take his life. And all of this has caused his eyes, his body, and his soul to waste away because of how long it has been going on. Yet, he says, “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.'” It is one thing to say, “I trust You, Lord,” when the Lord behaves exactly like we expect, giving us everything we want and ask for. It is another thing to trust Him by continuing to do what He says and pray to Him when He is not responding the way we want and when it seems like it is doing no good at all. May I suggest we can’t be sure we trust God until that trust has been put to the test in the crucible of shocking circumstances, circumstances in which God isn’t behaving exactly like we expected, in which He isn’t delivering as quickly as we had hoped. In fact, I also suggest we can’t be sure we truly trust God until we continue doing what He says even in the moments when it looks like it is not working at all. You know, moments like when you are hanging on a cross, dying, feeling forsaken, and then say, “Into Your hand I commit my spirit.” I’m not trying to make us fear we don’t have enough faith. I am simply trying to encourage us to hang on to our faith in those moments when we are ready to give up. Because if we don’t, I’m not so sure what we have is actually faith and trust.
Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 31.
A Word for Our Kids
Hey kids, David writes a little statement that I have a tendency to read right over in psalms like this one. However, it actually makes all the difference. I shared with your parents that we probably can’t say we trust the Lord until we trust Him through hardships. That is, we can only say we trust Him when we keep obeying Him even though it seems to hurt us. But how did David pull that kind of trust off? Psalm 31:3 gives us the hint. “For your name’s sake you lead me and guide me.” David trusted the Lord during hardship because he was more concerned about the Lord’s reputation than his own. In other words, David understood that the Lord’s goal was not to make life as easy for David as possible. David understood the Lord’s goal was to make His own name shine brighter. Sometimes God’s name shines more brightly by letting us go through hardships along the way. Sometimes, the reason we don’t trust God very much is because we don’t have the same goal He does. When our goals are about our convenience, enjoyment, and entertainment, we may not trust God too much when life isn’t convenient, enjoyable, and entertaining. But when our goal is God’s glory, we can always trust God to pull that off in His time. Then, no matter what we face, we can trust the Lord.